Rochester General Hospital (RGH) and the Rochester Union of Nurses & Allied Professionals (RUNAP) met today for our 17th bargaining session since negotiations began in October of last year. The session began at 10 AM and ended shortly after 2 PM. During today’s session, a Federal Mediator was present to assist the parties in their negotiations.
For any kind of negotiations to work, especially labor negotiations, both sides must remain as flexible as possible and move towards the other party’s position to reach an agreement. That did not happen today. Instead of moving on many topics, as RGH has, the union maintained its position on several of the most significant issues still on the table.
Throughout the negotiations, RGH has been flexible and moved closer to RUNAP’s positions on the topics they’ve said are the most important, including:
- Increasing and simplifying the hospital’s wage structure
- Reducing wage compression
- Incorporating staffing into the contract
Near the end of today’s session, RUNAP provided RGH with what they called a Comprehensive Counterproposal to a number of open issues. The union did not modify its counterproposal on wages to move closer to RGH and, in fact, moved backwards on items including:
- Float Pay
- A process for moving non-bargaining unit employees into the union without an opportunity to vote in an election
On the important topic of staffing, despite what we thought was progress we had made toward an agreement on staffing in prior meetings, the union did not change its prior proposal. Moreover, the union’s wage counterproposal would negatively impact some RGH’s employees by resulting in a decreased pay rate.
By making these proposals and moving backwards at the last minute, it appears as if the union wasn’t serious about avoiding the strike or wanting to reach a deal. This is an extremely disappointing outcome.
Despite this setback, RGH is fully prepared to navigate the union’s strike and remains committed to trying to reach a deal while it continues to serve its patients and the Rochester community. Many RGH nurses are planning to work during the strike and the hospital welcomes their commitment to their patients.
Working with the assistance of the Federal Mediator, RGH and RUNAP will work to schedule additional bargaining dates after the strike. We will issue another update following each session to keep you informed. You can sign up to receive email or text alerts when a new bargaining update is posted to the website and also submit any questions. Please visit www.RGHNursesMatter.org for more information.